Dmitrii Likhachev

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Likhachev, Dmitrii Sergeevich


Born Nov. 15 (28), 1906, in St. Petersburg. Soviet literary critic and cultural historian. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1970; corresponding member, 1953).

Likhachev graduated from Leningrad University in 1928. He began his scholarly work at the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) in 1938 and became head of the institute’s sector of ancient Russian literature in 1954. He was a professor at Leningrad State University from 1946 to 1953.

Likhachev’s works are distinguished by great attention to the aesthetic distinctiveness of the culture of ancient Rus’ and, in this connection, to problems of the general theory of art. His works are also characterized by a comprehensive study of social ideology, literature, folk poetry, and the fine arts—for example, his books The National Self-consciousness of Ancient Rus’ (1945), The Origin of Russian Literature (1952), ”The Tale of Igor’s Campaign”: A Historical and Literary Essay (2nd ed., 1955), Man in the Literature of Ancient Rus’ (1958; 2nd ed., 1970), The Culture of Rus’ at the Time of Andrei Rublev and Epifanii Premudryi (1962), and The Poetics of Ancient Russian Literature (1967; 2nd ed., 1971).

In the books The Russian Chronicles and Their Cultural and Historical Significance (1947) and The Russian Primary Chronicle (parts 1–2, 1950), Likhachev first demonstrated the lasting significance of the Russian chronicles’ literary value. A scholarly examination of the history of chronicle writing in 11th- and 12th-century Kiev and Novgorod brought Likhachev to A. A. Shakhmatov’s premise that most textual inconsistencies were the result of deliberate changes by the chroniclers. Likhachev wrote Textology (1962) in order to substantiate the independent significance of textology as a science. Likhachev has also written articles to encourage interest in scholarship and in the protection and study of the landmarks of antiquity.

Likhachev is a foreign member of the Bulgarian (1963), Austrian (1968), Serbian (1972), and Hungarian (1973) academies of sciences. He has received honorary doctorates from Toruń (1964), Oxford (1967), and Edinburgh (1970). Likhachev was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1952 and 1969, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and several medals.


Nekotorye zadachi izucheniia vtorogo iuzhnoslavianskogo vliianiia v Rossii. Moscow, 1958. (IV Mezhdunarodnyi s”ezd slavistov: Doklady.)
Khudozhestvennoe nasledie Drevnei Rusi i sovremennost’. Leningrad, 1971. (With V. D. Likhacheva.)
Razvitie russkoi literatury X-XVII vv.: Epokhi i still Leningrad, 1973.


D. S. Likhachev: Biobibliografiia. Introduction by V. P. Adrianova-Peretts. Moscow, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A frequent specter at the protests and meetings was a man who had been dead for several years, the beloved literary scholar and Petersburg native Dmitrii Likhachev. He was respected not just for his important writings on Russian literature and language but also for his persecution during Stalin's time and his independence of mind: Likhachev refused requests of the Communist Party to sign letters of condemnation of the famous dissidents Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
The name for the prize was taken from Dmitrii Likhachev's often-repeated admonition to save the city skyline.
Weststeijn's article, 'Pushkin between Classicism, Romanticism and Realism', represents an ambitious attempt to consider Pushkin through the dialectical model of literary evolution proposed by Dmitrii Likhachev in a 1973 article.
The metaphor of an archipelago can be traced back to a conversation between Solzhenitsyn and Academician Dmitrii Likhachev. Likhachev was arrested in 1928 and became an inmate for five years at the Solovetskii lager' osobogo naznacheniia (SLON), also known as Solovki, which became the prototype for the expanding system of camps at the outset of the Stalin period.
(5) Dmitrii Likhachev, "Mesto pod narami: Solovki, 1928-1931 gody," interview in Pervoe sentiabria, 6 November 1999, 5 (, accessed 12 May 2015).
In early 1994, the journal Russkaia literatura published selections from Dmitrii Likhachev's correspondence devoted to the discussion of the authenticity of the Igor' Tale in 1964.
Brudny, Reinventing Russia: Russian Nationalism and the Soviet State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000); and my forthcoming book Saving Russia's Honor: A Life of Dmitrii Likhachev.
(4) Dmitrii Likhachev, Iakov Lur'e, and Iurii Rykov, eds., Perepiska Ivana Groznogo s Andreem Kurbskim (Moscow: Nauka, 1993).